This week's letter comes from former chamber president Mike Schmidt who questions the authenticity of claims that new business and top earner taxes will derail economic recovery. Thanks for the letter, Mike. We couldn't have said it better ourselves. Oh wait, we did. Regardless, you're entitled to a bag of Strictly Organic Coffee on us. Collect your caffeinated spoils at our office, 704 NW Georgia.Bravo to your Oct. 7 "Boot." Your excellent commentary on the taxes our state legislature passed on corporations and high-income households. Raising the corporate minimum tax and adjusting the taxes on households making over $250,000 was a bold move to help ensure Oregon has the funding for education, public safety and other much-needed programs. Let's hope all thinking Oregonians will vote "Yes" to keep these nominal tax increases. Remember, this time you do want to vote "Yes."
Oddly enough, it was our local chamber and the Central Oregon Builders Association where one could sign petitions to repeal these taxes. They argue that raising the corporate minimum taxes will cost jobs and make Oregon less competitive. It's almost as bogus an argument as when the chamber's board of directors passed a policy statement earlier this year opposing business support for public transit.
In their policy statement, dated April 29, 2009 and delivered to city hall, one of the points centered on the $50-a-year business license fee, the lowest in the country for a community of our size. The statement read: "The business license is a hardship on small businesses and will hamper the creation of jobs; it should be repealed rather than increased."
The corporate minimum tax applies to all business classifications other than "Sole-proprietorships." This business classification makes up a huge majority of businesses in the state and an even larger number of the local chamber's membership. So the corporations, who should be paying more, are! Did you know the average Oregon household pays more in income taxes than do 300 corporations? Even with the tax increase passed by the legislature, corporations will still pay less in taxes on their income than do you and I as non-corporate taxpayers.
Likewise, having the local chamber state that $50 a year for a business license fee is a hardship and hampering the creation of jobs is another bogus argument. I wonder where the chamber is finding workers willing to work for 13 cents a day, or $50 a year? Given the city's financial hardship, the business license fee should be raised - not repealed. Similar no-brainer statements are being made by some pro-business organizations working to repeal the new corporate taxes.
I encourage all votes to support the new corporate minimum tax and income tax increase on less than 3 percent of households earning more than $250,000 a year. Bravo to The Source and The Boot commentary on why we should not "Enrich-the-Rich" by repealing these much-needed taxes.